3 Note-Taking Formats Every Student Should Try

Note-taking is a critical skill that can boost academic success, reduce study time, and ease the process of completing assignments. However, many students are not certain about how to take notes or which style will work best for them. Here are some helpful tips to help you organize your notes. Below are three note-taking formats every student should try when searching for the most effective method.

1. Outline

The outline is possibly the most common and familiar form of note-taking for students. The outline format is highly organized; the main topics act as headers, with accompanying details listed under them. With the outline format, pupils often use Roman numerals, an alphanumerical combination, or bullets. 

This type of note-taking is especially helpful in the scientific disciplines, where information is often intrinsically organized into categories and groups. In addition, this mode of note-taking can function quite well in classes where instructors lecture in a concise manner. Furthermore, the outline tends to be a beneficial way of recording notes when students read textbooks. However, outlines may not be effectual in demonstrating the way ideas are connected or when referencing abstract subjects. You may find this information on how to take notes in a college lecture useful as well.

2. Web

Another system of note-taking that many students find useful is the web. This is sometimes referred to as concept mapping, as well. On a web or concept map, ideas and facts are represented visually. While an outline is linear, a web is graphic. Main points are printed in bubbles, and associated ideas branch off the sides. Lines are customarily drawn between ideas in order to express the relationship between them. 

One benefit of utilizing the web technique is that it gives you the ability to show how diverse ideas are connected. This method of note-taking is particularly accommodating to those who are visual learners; many students discover that if they add color-coding to their webs, they can express their ideas even more effectively. The web is a wonderful technique to use when you must take notes quickly, or when you need to understand how different concepts are related. However, the web is not as useful for studying, nor is it always the preferred method when you must record numerous details. 

3. Cornell method

The Cornell method for note-taking is a system that functions remarkably for both taking notes and studying after lecture. To use this technique, you must divide your paper into three sections. First, fold the paper up approximately two inches from the bottom. Then, fold the left side over approximately three inches. When you unfold your paper, you should be able to see three sections. Make use of the spacious right-hand portion to take notes in whichever style works best for you, or use a combination of styles. Record all the detailed information on the right-hand side. On the left-hand side, list the main topics or essential points. Once you have finished taking notes, utilize the bottom section of your paper to create a brief summary of what you have learned from the lecture or reading. 

The advantage of the Cornell method is that you can juxtapose multiple note-taking formats in one. Additionally, by summarizing at the end of your notes, you force yourself to reflect on the text or lecture in its entirety. Once it is time to study, review for a test, or complete an assignment, both the summary and the left-hand column can assist you. 

Some students find that they prefer one note-taking format over another. Moreover, some subjects are better suited for one particular form of note-taking. Experiment with these three note-taking formats to see which one works best for you. If you still cannot decide, consider asking an academic mentor like a tutor or a teacher or a for advice. Doing so could increase your academic success!